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UEFA and the European Union's law enforcement agency, Europol, have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at reinforcing the fight against match-fixing in European football.
The memorandum was signed today at the House of European Football in Nyon by the President of UEFA, Michel Platini, and the Director of Europol, Rob Wainwright.
The scope of the memorandum includes the mutual provision of expertise and constant consultation in the areas of match-fixing in football and related organised crime, as well as the exchange of information and know-how related to those areas.
Europol and UEFA pledge to cooperate in joint activities and in implementing relevant projects, and to exchange information on suspected match-fixing cases and the methods used by individuals or criminal organisations to manipulate matches. Europol will also provide expert assistance and advice to UEFA and its 54 member associations on key aspects of contemporary criminal organisation in the area of match-fixing.
"Match-fixing is not a fantasy, it is a reality, a sad and serious reality," said UEFA President Michel Platini. "UEFA and its member associations know that football authorities do not have the means to deal with this problem by themselves. Therefore, I am extremely happy to have the support of Europol. By joining forces, we will have more power."
This was reiterated by Rob Wainwright: "The signing of this memorandum of understanding is an important step forward in the fight against match-fixing and a strong signal showing Europol's and UEFA's will to do our utmost to minimise this phenomenon, which needs to be taken seriously. It sends an important message to organised criminal groups that football and law enforcement are united in seeking to protect one of the world's premier sports."
Mutual support will be given in education programmes, and Europol and UEFA will also liaise on matters concerning individual relations with law enforcement bodies, as well as with UEFA member associations.
The memorandum of understanding between UEFA and Europol is a crucial step forward in the campaign to combat match-fixing in European football. UEFA has made this campaign a major priority, given that match-fixing represents a serious threat to the essential integrity of football and its competitions.
"Since my election in 2007, I have made the fight against match-fixing a priority," added the UEFA President. "We have to do everything to preserve the integrity of our games. Football has to be transparent, and maintain the magic of being a truly unpredictable game."
European football's governing body has a zero-tolerance policy towards match-fixing. Severe sanctions, including lifetime bans from football, have been handed down in cases where clubs, players, officials or referees have been found guilty of committing offences related to match-fixing. In addition, UEFA has a strict policy on the admission process to UEFA competitions for clubs involved in match-fixing activities.
Europol, which is based in The Hague, Netherlands, works together with EU member states, other partner states and other organisations in the fight against serious international crime, undertaking intelligence and investigatory work and collecting and disseminating information to national law enforcement agencies.
Since 2011, Europol has assisted EU law enforcement authorities in analysing data from investigations into sports corruption, primarily football matches. Earlier this year Europol formally opened a 'Focal Point Sports Corruption' which so far has 14 EU member states participating plus two non-EU countries and INTERPOL. Europol is currently supporting nine investigations across the EU.
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